Epilogue: The Fall Of The Knight
Raine collided with Laguna with a deafening sound and a blinding flash.
I swung it horizontally from left to right and she managed to stop it from killing her. We struck again from opposite directions and they collided in the center again. Continuing to swing our weapons at each other, we turned in a circle, danced a deadly jig of adamantine. Our trenchcoats were our wings, the wings of the fallen angel and the fallen knight.
Our gunblades were now clashing against each other with the pieces of the broken mirror of rage we had bottled up inside us.
Everytime I swung Raine, it blasted in her face like a scream, like blame, like the pieces of hate.
Our moves were the core of our hate towards what this had brought us to. It had brought us to this dark hall, in the final hour we were together. Our lives both lost in a battle.
A battle we couldn't win.
We continued to hit each other. I swung the gunblade to my left and she responded, and I smashed my fist to her face, and Raine went down with a vertical slash. She stopped my move and kicked my ribs. A rib was shaking loose like we were.
We were shaking loose at the tip of a slipknot.
Our personal revenge was getting rough. We were now close enough to strip out of our clothes and make love, but we were fighting. A series of slashes got into the dance we had found ourselves in.
The rain was still pounding, and the lightnings just lit up the dark corridor for brief seconds. Enough for me to catch the expectant faces of the ghosts that have been haunting me.
With their smiling, but expectant skulls pressed against the windows and their skeletal hands around my neck for the final time.
I swung Raine in a series of slashes, upper-left, upper-right, from down to upwards, and then, I swung it horizontally again.
Ellone replied with the same move from the opposite direction.
Our gunblades both broke from the middle, but we both held each other's free hands, and pushed what was left of our gunblades deep inside the flesh, managing to draw blood.
I screamed in pain and retreated. I retreated until I could get a grip on myself. Looking down on the ground on which the ghosts continued to slide on, I knew I was looking to the bottom of my grave.
I took out the handle, and let out another scream of empty pain. No real pain was actually left inside of me, it was one, black, gaping hole. I threw the handle at her, and had to bend over my wounded arm to avoid the other handle flying at me. I reached in to my pocket with my free hand.
To get to the tool that had taken it all away from me time and time again. And as I took it in my bloodstained palm, my fingers almost shook with excitement.
I threw the knife at her, as something shiny flashed in her hand and flew at me. The same knife was coming back at me. They both whistled in mid-air, and alongside with them, I heard a faint scream.
The knives whistled in the air, and alongside with the deadly whistle, a voice came at my ears.
Squall, don't give up!
”FOR RINOA!!!” I screamed as I swung my wounded arm, and my grasp tightened on the handle of the knife. I had caught it.
With a little sparkle of pain and love, I bid Rinoa goodbye.
I thanked the dead and muttered a mantra for their lost souls in torment. I couldn't save them. They knew it as best as I could.
I smiled to myself and bid goodbye to Matron and Cid, my mother and father.
I looked at Sis, and held out the knife as if it was a gunblade. My position was just like Seifer when he posed as a knight. The impact made her take a single, little step back.
I smiled and with regret, bid Seifer goodbye.
”Remember this?” I asked, ”This is the scene where you swear upon your undying hatred for me.”
”Why, Squall, why?” she asked, ”Why don't you just give up and die? Why do you keep fighting? Why do you fight, other than your own survival? Love? Peace of this haunting? I have taken everything you have, like you had done to me... So why don't you give up?”
”You're still asking, Sis? Because I have to get their revenge. I'm not a quitter. I'm carrying more destruction and curruption than any man can ever handle... But I'm not down yet.”I said goodbye to Selphie, for helping me when I was ready to go down.
”Just go down already! This doesn't go anywhere! You're not gonna make it! It's just impossible.”
”Wrong.” I said, as I smirked at her, ”It's just inevitable!”
We started to run towards each other, as the whispers of my friends kept me alive and awake. Wide awake, my eyes were open, and all of the illusions I had were miraculously lifted off.
As the distance closed in again, I knew there was no easy, magical way out. The only way was to go through more pain and darkness. It didn't matter if it was too much to take in.
We jumped forward. In that one moment we were in the air, I waved Zell goodbye.
The knives dug into our arms and left thin lines of blood, and spilled out our blackened poison out of our wounds. We both landed on our feet and looked at each other again.
I bid Quistis goodbye at that brief moment, and wanted to thank her for the things she had done. It was a hollow wish. Too little too late.
We observed each other. I saw the hopelessness in her eyes. Her hate had been leaving all else in shadows, and in this shadow-of-an-existence, she was just another ghost.
The only ghost that continued to haunt me.
And I hated her. For putting faith in me. For putting hate in me. I hated her for taking away the only thing I was leaning on all this time; hope.
The empty hope of one day, this all could end. With this thought, I silently bid Leia goodbye.
I ran at her, and then she came at me. I threw a left punch, and a kick, and she responded with the same. We both swung up the knives and cut each other at the same moment.
We were really fighting. Each move was an exclamation mark at the end of the long, dark, painful sentence. Each cut was a dose of medication. As losers in this battle, we knew we couldn't win.
Because we had lost hope. In ourselves. In each other. Hope foresaken.
And now I knew why people depended on each other. As we continued to cut and punch, I knew we had came this far because we knew we were depending on each other. Even in death, we were together.
Not as we wanted it to be.
After dealing with a dozen or more cuts, I decided it was time to finish this case once and for all. To end this retaliation.
And my punch landed on her face and made her teeth fly out of her mouth. She replied with a similar kick that broke my nose, again. I swung the knife and opened a gash in her chest, and she stuck the knife deep in my already wounded arm. I screamed in pain, and grabbed her arm. Holding her knived arm, I managed to raise the knife.
Her hand collided with my wrist to prevent me from doing it.
And here we were... I was holding her to my arms, getting ready for our last embrace.
The sirens closed in, and the spotlights lit up the whole room. GLE screamed as ”Ellone Loire! Drop your weapon and surrender! Squall Leonhart! Surrender!”
With a slight wrist movement, the knife entered her wrist and she screamed in pain. I felt a cold piece of metal pushed into my ribs. Clenching my teeth, I smashed my face into hers. She fell back. I fell back, and almost fell down.
We came at each other again, closed in on each other. Like cat and cat, dog and dog. The Devil And The She-Devil.
I ran at her again, as she was trying to get up. She stuck the knife in my foreleg. I swallowed the pain like well-needed water. I smashed my elbow on her back, and then punched her on the chin. I managed to insert the knife in her shoulder. She screamed in pain, and gave me another gash in the same foreleg.
I managed to stand, as she fell down again.
This whisper wasn't known to me. Whose whisper could this be? In the middle of a tiring, most painful and sorrowful funeral, I stopped.
Squall, you're innocent!
It was Selphie. I smiled and bid her and Irvine goodbye. I was letting go of all the things hidden deep inside me, bottled up, about to kill me.
”DIE!!!” Ellone screamed as she lunged at me with her weak and giving-in knees. She collapsed with me and pushed the knife into my stomach. I felt the fingers of pain explore every bit over my body. We fell down.
I managed to push her away from me.
But my arms had started to give up as well. My skeletal hand moved to the knife in my stomach. Another skeletal hand grasped mine tight.
Squall, I'm here with you.
I took the knife out and let out a scream of pain. This time, the pain was real. The nerves in my brain were blasting rapidly.
I tried to crawl back on my feet. I felt Sis move just the same. I tried to push the ground, as the roots of the soil reached out to pull me down.
Down... So far down.
It all seemed so tempting, but I had to resist it. For just another minute.
And the last mile was the longest.
I tried to get up as Sis took my right arm and broke it. I felt the bones dislodge, and screamed again. Taking the knife in my left hand, I swung it to open a gash across her right chest.
Then, I swung my broken arm and hit her. She fell down. I screamed again.
Squall, you can't give up now! You're so close!
I took a moment to murmur a short prayer for Leia and the rest of my friends, for they were there with me. I managed to throw another punch at Ellone. She responded with a kick that scraped my eye and opened up a gash in my temple. The stitches started opened up and let my blood flow out.
After keeping them all inside, I let go of everything I had bottled up.
”Sis...” I breathed hard, ”End this now.”
”END THIS, GODDAMMIT!!!” I screamed as I hit her face again, and felt her nose break.
”GET AWAY FROM ME!!!” she replied, and a kick landed on my throat, making me choke.
I felt the knife in my palm, with the gentle touch of a pair of lips.
Squall, it's up to you.
I lunged at Ellone, and lowered the knife. She held me with one hand, and swung her knife upwards, and I held her hand back.
We were entangled in a deep hug. But it was deadly too. But she was so much like me in many ways.
A fallen knight. A tool of justice. Of revenge.
A tool of fate.
But I wasn't good enough to defeat fate.
They all screamed. Rinoa called my name. I clenched my teeth and leaned forward. My weight was an advantage.
GLE's footsteps and ”GO GO GO!” sounds blasted in my eardrums. Their voices and the clickings of their guns approached the place as I felt the ground underneath me.
The screams rose and my eardrums blasted in my head. They rose in a deafening chorus, calling my name. Everything called out to me. The soil, Diablos, my ghosts, the cops, Ellone...
...And I didn't even shiver, for the first time.
The knife entered Ellone's heart. It dug deep slowly, and managed to hit her heart, which had been cold and dead for love.
”Squall...” she said, ”I'm... sorry.”
”So am I, Sis.” I said, ”So am I.”
”But why... did you... not give... up?”
”Because I... believed.”
The tiredness was closing in on me, and darkness was approaching me like a lover. I embraced it.
...I had no regrets.
Because this was the path I had chosen to walk. I had chosen to go on, than to shoot a bullet in my head. And I had walked along this road.
I had seen this to the end.
And during my struggle, I had found myself. About my choices, I couldn't say anything. I had found out who I am, and I thanked for this one comfort Sis had given to me. I kissed her on the forehead and bid her goodbye.
She was Sis. The one I had searched for all my life.
The sirens wailed. Let them wail. Let the wind howl. Let the rain come down. Let them see us. Let the cops come.
I tried to pay more attention to the voices and the songs, the weights had never been so heavy on me. The debts were paid in full.
”Squall Leonhart! Are you okay!? You're wounded! Get medic here, quick!!!”
Then he told me that, Lagoon A had blown the whole thing open to the public. And they knew I was innocent.
I walked out of that building, out of my nightmares and I felt free. And even then, Sis was still with me.
I had a dream of Rinoa.
She was dead.
But it didn't matter anymore.